A transition is the process or period of changing from one state or condition to another. Our lives are constantly filled with various transitions. Some of these transitions can be easier than others. Educating Rita by Willy Russel explores the obstacles Rita encounters while transitioning from uneducated to educated, also the way that Frank transitions out of his world that lacks challenges and new endeavours. The song “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin shows us the cycle of life and how some transitions can occur without us even realising.
Rita, a twenty-six year old female from the working class, sees education as her vehicle to emerge from the gender expectations, class prejudices and educational inequities of her social class. She is constantly resisting these expectations.
“Y’ have to decide whether it’s gonna be another change of dress or a change in yourself. And it’s really tempting to go out an’ get that other dress. Because that way it’s easy; y’ know you won’t be ...view middle of the document...
“She left me for the good of literature… It’s myself I’m not too fond of.”
The sarcastic and bitter tone of Frank shows us how he recognises that things have changed in his situation. His transition hasn’t been as easy as Rita’s and starts in a downhill motion.
Harry Chapin’s song “Cat’s in the Cradle” shows us the typical cycle of life. A young family man living life through to his retirement and his new born son just starting life and growing into the incredibly similar character of his father as a family man. The father’s work life is more important with all the bills to pay and planes to catch.
“I’m gonna be like you, Dad. You know I’m gonna be like you... when you comin’ home dad?”
This is ironic because his dad wasn’t the best father at the time and later in the song we see how the son transitions to be exactly like his father later in life. The direct speech makes it urgent and creates empathy for the son. The emphatic rhetorical question invites the audience in and we take the side of the child.
Through the many transitions in our lives we can become so focused on our own needs and desires that we forget to notice the things going on around us. The inability of the father and son to make that emotional connection that they both crave is displaced by time. The father falls victim to this concept when he retires, seeing that his son is all grown up.
“And that’s the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man on the moon, when you coming home son, I don’t know when, but we’ll be together then Dad, You know we’ll have a good time then.”
The reversal of the two characters shows us how the son has evolved to be just like his father, with too many things to do. The use of rhyme in ‘moon’ and ‘spoon’ provide a foundation for the listener to reflect on the father and son’s relationship. The son is grown up and now it is the father that feels the distance between them, like the man on the moon, compared to the intimacy he longs for with his son.
We can see that in the play ‘Educating Rita’ by Willy Russel and the song ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ by Harry Chapin that transitions can be influenced and restricted by many factors in our lives, some transitions being easier than others.